Detroit’s dining scene fills Motown with delicious flavors, sights, and aromas for residents and visitors to enjoy. Pack a big appetite, because you’ll surely want to feast on everything you see from casual local favorites like coney dogs and slabs of Detroit-style pizza to fine-dining fare, international cuisines, and all sorts of good eats in between.
Adjacent to the Wayne State University campus, Selden Standard sets the table for casual yet classy lunches, brunches, and dinners with a pleasant vibe. Diners return for the sharable small plates, paired with a well-vetted selection of wines, craft beer, spirits, and creative cocktails to enjoy any time of day. With veggie, meat, cheese, and fish-centric choices on the menu, all highlighting locally sourced ingredients, there’s something here to please everyone in your party.
Roll out of bed and into this easy-to-love downtown brunch hotspot to stave off morning hunger pangs with spicy pork belly benedict, crispy potato hash laced with duck confit, a selection of omelets, hearty sandwiches, and mac and cheese topped with savory add-ons like lardons and Brussels sprouts. Wash it all down with locally roasted Zingerman’s coffee or Rishi organic tea; those in need of a little hair of the dog can order up a boozy Bloody Mary or a "beermosa" instead.
Part of the Shinola Hotel’s top-notch culinary program led by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini, San Morello feels like stepping into an Italian neighborhood trattoria in the heart of downtown Detroit. Here, Tuscan foie gras, tuna crudo, and dry-aged duck breast happily coexist next to more familiar favorites like osso bucco, eggplant Parmesan, house-made pasta, and wood-fired pizzas. Mangia, mangia!
Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails
Highlighting cocktails that feature the restaurant’s namesake ingredient, Chartreuse wows Midtown diners on the regular with stunning plates of elevated cuisine that look as beautiful as they taste. The kitchen crew treats fresh seasonal ingredients with the utmost respect, skillfully coaxing them into delicious finished results like fragrant sourdough bread, steak tartare, coconut-curried scallops, roasted carrots, and grilled anchovies.
American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney Island
Hardcore loyalists wouldn’t dream of straying from their tried-and-true favorite, but they do agree on one thing—the classic Detroit coney dog must consist of a beef hot dog on a bun topped with chili sauce, a squirt of yellow mustard and a sprinkle of chopped onion. Which eatery reigns supreme among the city’s top two contenders? You make the call. Since they sit directly next door to each other, it’s easy to taste-test both and choose your own winner.
“The Reason,” a mouthwatering stacked-high pulled pork sandwich drenched in North Carolina-style sauce and topped with coleslaw and pickles, may have put Slow’s original Corktown location on the map when the barbecue joint opened initially back in 2005. Satisfying offerings like St. Louis-style ribs, beef brisket, smoked Amish chicken, chili, mac and cheese, corn fritters, and refried black beans have kept customers coming back in droves ever since.
Gratify your cravings for soulful Japanese noodles, rice bowls, and dumplings while rubbing elbows with fellow diners in a cozy communal setting. Udon noodles lovingly cradle tasty accouterment like mushrooms, tofu, egg, smoked pork loin, and lobster, all served steaming in a flavorful broth. Even little guests get their fair share of attention with buttered udon and chicken noodle soup on the kids’ menu. Don’t miss the jicama-wrapped tacos and the sake steamed clams.
Finding its footing somewhere in between New York thin slice and Chicago deep dish, Detroit-style pizza is served in thick rectangular-cut slabs laden with bubbly tomato sauce, melty cheese, and your choice of toppings. Among the regional pizzerias, Buddy’s claims the original version, having introduced the recipe to diners back in 1946. Today, customers can also opt for specialty pies, burgers, sandwiches, and homestyle pasta.
Roast by Michael Symon
From its handsome downtown confines inside the iconic Westin Book Cadillac building, Roast caters to a mostly carnivorous crowd with charcuterie, carpaccio, short ribs, smoked pork chops, and lots and lots of steak. Sure, there are some tasty vegetable sides on the menu, but make no bones about it. As the name suggests, Roast is a destination-dining experience for meat lovers as interpreted by the Iron Chef himself.
Named for a favorite local department store and proud to be part of Detroit’s ongoing comeback story, this modern downtown café wakes customers up with bright décor and colorful murals. (The coffee helps, too.) Decadent menu choices include creatively stuffed omelets, red velvet pancakes, s’mores French toast, sweet and savory crepes, sandwiches, salads, and a handful of Benedict options.
The second local foray from the team that launched Takoi in 2017, this alluring recent addition to Detroit’s Core City neighborhood infuses wood-fired vegetables, cheeses, flatbreads, meats, and other menu items with a decidedly Middle Eastern flavor. The open kitchen concept combines all the elements of dinner and a show and allows customers to watch their dishes take shape before their eyes.
Detroit Vegan Soul
With two locations to choose from, this plant-based operation is ready to take everything you think you know about meat-free dining and turn it on its ear. Prepare to be wowed by dishes like seitan pepper steak stir-fry over brown rice, mushroom gravy-smothered tempeh with mashed potatoes, coconut BLT wraps, the BBQ tofu sandwich, and vegan fruit cobbler. Delicious food you can feel good about (and after) eating.
Cork & Gabel
What do you get when you fuse Irish, Italian, and German cuisine? Surprisingly scrumptious punchlines like fried Irish Dubliner cheese with marinara dipping sauce, Guinness-braised short ribs served with tender gnocchi, and a heady lamb Bolognese ladled over rye pasta. The name’s a mashup that simultaneously honors the eatery’s Corktown location and the German word for “fork.”
Sophisticated breakfast sandwiches, gorgeous pastries and baked goods, innovative salads, and artisanal bread with a selection of spreads for dipping recently earned this small but mighty impressive café a spot on Bon Appetit magazine's 10 Best Restaurants in America list. And affiliation with the locally based Astro Coffee roastery all but guarantees an outstanding selection of hot and cold ways to caffeinate.
SheWolf Pastificio & Bar
SheWolf reinvents Old-World recipes in deliciously modern ways with a focus on Rome and other regional Italian cuisines. Try fresh focaccia, crudo, and antipasti leading into tempting pasta choices like cacio e pepe, rigatoni carbonara, and roasted pumpkin ravioli. If you time your visit just right, you might even get to request shaved truffles. Save a little room for the zeppole, pillowy ricotta fritters with salted caramel sauce.